GLOSSARY

video vocabulary

The Words You Need To See

Advanced Television Systems Committee Standards (atsc)     

Name of the North American organization that sets the standards for digital television transmission over terrestrial, cable, and satellite networks. Replaces the analog NTSC standards.

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Aliasing     

A side effect of digital signal processing that causes distortion or unwanted artifacts in the reconstruction process. Aliasing can affect both the video and the audio signals.

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Analog     

Opposite of digital. The term refers to the recording (storage and measurement) of an infinitely variable signal gathered from a physical source. In electronics, analog signals are generally acquired through the Composite, S-Video, or Component Video connectors.

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Analog-to-digital converter (adc)     

An electronic component that converts an analog signal to a digital signal. ADC accuracy are rated based on their bandwidth (sampling rate) and signal-to-noise ratio.

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Anamorphic     

The cinematography technique of shooting a widescreen picture on standard 35mm film or other visual recording media with a non-widescreen native aspect ratio.

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Aperture     

A small, variable-size hole in the camera that allows light to reach the sensor. Apertures are expressed with the symbols f/ followed by the ratio between the focal length and the diameter of the hole. Common aperture settings are f/11, f/5.6 and f/4.

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Artifact     

Any undesired or unintended alteration in data introduced during the processing of the digital video signal. Most digital artifacts are the result of problems with compression, aliasing and/or error diffusion.

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Aspect Ratio     

The proportional relationship between the image's width and its height. The most common video aspect ratios are 4:3 (1.3:1) and 16:9 (1.7:1).

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Automatic Gain Control (agc)     

A circuit that automatically adjusts the gain of an amplifier based on the relative strength of the input signal. Used to maintain an even output when the audio signal is too low or the scene is poorly lighted.

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Bandwidth     

The maximum amount of bits/second that can travel along a network or channel. Most videos players will allow for automatic scaling a video stream to match the available bandwidth.

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Bit (bit)     

A basic unit of information. Refers to a binary digit (0 or 1) used to store or represent data.

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Bit rate     

The rate of binary digits flowing in a digital data-processing system. Bit rates are expressed as the number of bits per second (bps or Kbps) traveling through a digital stream.

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Brightness     

The perceived amount of light coming from a given source.

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Broadband     

A wide bandwidth channel which transports multiple signals and traffic types. Broadband can refer to media such coaxial cable, optical fiber, radio or twisted pair.

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C mount     

A standard mount interface for lenses used in small cameras. Internal diameter: 1"; thread pitch 1/32"; flange-to-image plane distance: 0.69".

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Charge-coupled device (ccd)     

A semiconductor chip with a light-sensitive grid used for converting images to electrical signals. CCD is the core technology behind digital photography and video.

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Chromatic aberration (ca)     

Problem caused by the camera lens' inability to bring the colors to a focus at the same point.

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Chromaticity     

Measurement of color quality expressed by the combination of hue and saturation.

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Chrominance     

The chromaticity, or value of hue and saturation, for a given color.

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Clipping     

The distortion of an audio or video signal, resulting in the high amplitude peaks being cut off. Clipping is often caused by the overloading of amplifier circuits.

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Coaxial cable (coax)     

A specialized wire (cable) consisting of an inner conductor surrounded by multiple layers of insulating material. Used to carry high frequency electrical signals with low losses, such as telegraph, telephone, television, and Internet signals.

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Codec     

Refers to a combination of coder and decoder software or hardware. A codec encodes and/or decodes a digital data stream or signal.

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Color Depth     

The number of bits used that a given device or system can use to represent the color of a pixel. Common color depths include 8-bit, 16-bit and 32-bit.

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Colorburst     

In a color television signal, a generated analog video signal used to keep the chrominance sub-carrier synchronized.

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Colorfulness     

An attribute of perceived color relating to chromatic intensity.

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Complementary metal–oxide–semiconductor (cmos)     

A technology for constructing integrated circuits. Used in microprocessors, microcontrollers, static RAM, and other digital logic circuits.

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Composite Video (sd)     

A composite(analog) video transmission carrier of standard definition video over a single channel.

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Compression     

An encoding process that results in a decrease in the number of bits required to store data.

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Contrast     

The difference in luminance intensity, or color, that allows objects in an image distinguishable.

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Contrast ratio     

A measure of the difference in luminance intensity, or color, that allows objects in an image distinguishable.

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Cropping     

The removal of unwanted areas from a video or still image.

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Crosstalk     

The visual or auditory result of the coupling of electronic circuits across separate channels.

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Data-rate Units     

A way to express the average number of bits (bitrate) passed between two points in a fixed timeframe. Most common units are bit/s, kbps, Mpbs and Gbps.

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Decibel (db)     

In audio, a measurement of sound pressure level.

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Decoder     

A circuit or chip in cameras and other input devices that converts video signals from analog to digital.

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Depth of Field     

In an image , the distance between the closest and the farthest objects that are acceptably sharp.

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Depth of Focus     

The distance between the camera lens and the film or CCD that can be altered without blurring the iimage.

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Diaphragm     

In a camera, a component designed to control amount of peripheral light going through the lens aperture.

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Digital Signal     

The result of the conversion of the original (analog) video signal into a pattern of bits. A digital signal has a discrete value at each sampling point, and its precision is a factor of how many samples get converted per unit of time.

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Digital television     

Can refer to the digital video and audio signals that are broadcasted, or the digital television sets that decode the incoming signals.

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Digitization     

The conversion process that encode continuous video stream into discrete samples and store the result in a numerical format.

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Display device     

An appliance, such as a monitor or television, that present the video signal in visual or tactile form.

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Distortion     

The deviation in shape or structure from the original shape or structure of an image or sound.

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Distribution amplifier (da)     

A device that amplifies and distributes an original signal to multiple, isolated locations (outputs) without distortion: a WI-fi router, a television station antenna, etc.

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Dynamic range (dr)     

The ratio between the largest and smallest values of an audio or video digital signal. Usually expressed in decibels.

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F-number     

Setting of diaphragm that determines amount of light transmitted by camera lens.

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Field of view (fov)     

A measurement of the subject area visible to the camera.

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Film frame     

One of the many still images which compose the complete moving picture.

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Flutter     

The rapid variation of amplitude, phase, or frequency that causes the video to move back and forth very rapidly.

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Focal length     

A measure of the distance, in millimeters, between the optical centre of the lens and the camera’s sensor.

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Focus     

The area on which compositional elements converge. Typically refers to the sharpest elements in the image.

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Frame rate (fps)     

A measure of the number of frames displayed per second in a video.

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Frequency response     

A measure of the effectiveness with which a circuit, device, or system processes and transmits signals fed into it, as a function of the signal frequency.

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Gain     

A measurement of the ratio between two quantities. In audio and video, gain refers to a measure of the increase in loudness, level or volume relative to the input signal.

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Gamma correction     

A measure of the correction applied to the video display to compensate for the input signal.

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Genlock     

A device which enables a composite display (usually a TV) to combine two signals simultaneously by locking one while processing the other. Acronymn for "generator locking device."

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Ghosting     

A copy of the transmitted image super-imposed with an offset on top of the main image.

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Grayscale     

An image composed exclusively of shades of gray to represent the intensity (light.)

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H.264     

The name of the most common video compression standard for high-definition digital video for resolutions up to 8K. Also known as MPEG-4 AVC and MPEG-4 Part 10.

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Hertz (hz)     

The unit of measurement for the number of cycles per second. 1Hz = 1 cycle per second.

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High-definition television (hdtv)     

Refers to any or all of television system formats (analog or digital) that can display at a higher resolution than those of old standards.

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HSL/HSV (hsl)     

Acronymns for Hue, Saturation, Lightness (HSL) and Hue, Saturation, Value (HSV) . HSL and HSV are color space naming conventions that allow for selecting colors more intuitively than by entering RGB or CMYK numbers.

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Hue     

The shade or tint of a color.

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Hum     

A low, steady sound caused by electrical interference.

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Impedance     

The measure of the opposition that a circuit presents to a current when a voltage is applied. The term complex impedance may be used interchangeably.

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Interference     

A phenomenon in which two waves superpose to form a resultant wave of greater, lower, or the same amplitude.

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Interlaced     

A technique for doubling the perceived frame rate of a video display. From a viewer perspective, Interlaced video enhances motion perception and reduces flicker.

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Jitter     

The displacement of random horizontal lines in video frames. Jitter is the result of a loss of data between devices due to interference, cross-talk and other network disruptions.

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kilohertz (khz)     

Unit of measurement for frequency. One kilohertz = 1,000 hertz (1,000 cycles per second.)

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Lens     

The transparent material (usually glass) through which the light beam enters the camera and is refracted onto the body and sensor of the camera.

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Lens speed     

The aperture of a camera lens. The lower the f/ (aperture ratio) value, the faster the lens.

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Letterboxing     

The result of converting a film from widescreen aspect ratio to standard. Letterboxing creates black areas above and below the original clip to make up for missing content.

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Light     

The spectrum visible to the human eye.

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Luma     

The achromatic (black and white) portion of the image.

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Lumen (lm)     

A measurement of light emitted in a unit solid angle by a uniform point source of one candle intensity.

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Luminance     

A measurement of the luminous intensity per unit area of light travelling in a given direction.

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Lux (lx)     

1 lux = 1 lumen per square meter.

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Modulation     

A process that converts mutimedia information to an electrical or optical signal before it is transmitted. The reverse process (demodulation) converts the signal back to the original blend of audio, video, image and text.

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Monitor     

A screen device capable of accepting direct input from a video source.

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Monochrome     

A device, process or media that uses only variants of a single color tone (hue). Black and white pictures are monochrome images.

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Moving Picture Experts Group (mpeg)     

The name of a working group that sets the standards for audio and video compression and transmission.

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Neutral-density filter     

A filter that reduces the amount of light entering the camera lens by modify the intensity of all wavelengths of light equally.

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Noise     

In analog video, a random flicker of dots or snow-like patterns resulting from electronic and radiated electromagnetic interferences accidentally picked up by the antenna.

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NTSC (ntsc)     

The analog television color system that was used in North America from 1954 and until digital conversion, was used in most of the Americas (except Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay, Uruguay, and French Guiana); Myanmar; South Korea; Taiwan; Philippines; Japan; and some Pacific island nations and territories.

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Patch panel     

A unit used to connect and route signals to and from different, external devices.

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Phase Alternating Line (pal)     

An analog standard used for encoding color television signals. PAL is the equivalent of NTSC and SECAM.

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Pixel     

The smallest addressable element on a screen or display device.

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Progressive scan     

A way to store and transmit images that draws all the lines in each frame in sequence. Compare to other techniques such as interlacing.

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Raw image format     

Minimally processed data from the image sensor of either a digital camera, a motion picture film scanner, or other image scanner.

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Resolution     

The detail an image holds. The term applies to raster digital images, film images, and other types of images. Higher resolution means more image detail.

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Shutter     

A device that allows light to pass for a determined period, exposing photographic film or a photosensitive digital sensor to light in order to capture a permanent image of a scene. A shutter can also be used to allow pulses of light to pass outwards, as seen in a movie projector or a signal lamp. A shutter of variable speed is used to control exposure time of the film. The shutter is constructed so that it automatically closes after a certain required time interval. The speed of the shutter is controlled by a ring outside the camera, on which various timings are marked.

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Signal generator     

A type of signal generator which outputs predetermined video and/or television oscillation waveforms, and other signals used in the synchronization of television devices and to stimulate faults in, or aid in parametric measurements of, television and video systems.

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Signal-to-noise ratio     

A measure used in science and engineering that compares the level of a desired signal to the level of background noise.

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SMPTE Color Bars (smpte)     

A trademarked television test pattern used where the NTSC video standard is utilized, including countries in North America. The Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers (SMPTE) refers to it as Engineering Guideline EG 1-1990.

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Spike     

Fast, short duration electrical transients in voltage (voltage spikes), current (current spikes), or transferred energy (energy spikes) in an electrical circuit.

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Streaming media     

Multimedia that is constantly received by and presented to an end-user while being delivered by a provider. The verb "to stream" refers to the process of delivering or obtaining media in this manner; the term refers to the delivery method of the medium, rather than the medium itself, and is an alternative to file downloading, a process in which the end-user obtains the entire file for the content before watching or listening to it.

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Synchronization     

The coordination of events to operate a system in unison. The conductor of an orchestra keeps the orchestra synchronized or in time.

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Tearing     

A visual artifact in video display where a display device shows information from multiple frames in a single screen draw.

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Test card     

A television test signal, typically broadcast at times when the transmitter is active but no program is being broadcast (often at sign-on and sign-off).

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Transcoding     

the direct digital-to-digital conversion of one encoding to another, such as for movie data files, audio files (e.g., MP3, WAV), or character encoding (e.g., UTF-8, ISO/IEC 8859). This is usually done in cases where a target device (or workflow) does not support the format or has limited storage capacity that mandates a reduced file size, or to convert incompatible or obsolete data to a better-supported or modern format.

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Transient     

A short-lived burst of energy in a system caused by a sudden change of state.

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Variable bitrate (vbr)     

A term used in telecommunications and computing that relates to the bitrate used in sound or video encoding. As opposed to constant bitrate (CBR), VBR files vary the amount of output data per time segment. VBR allows a higher bitrate (and therefore more storage space) to be allocated to the more complex segments of media files while less space is allocated to less complex segments. The average of these rates can be calculated to produce an average bitrate for the file.

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Video     

An electronic medium for the recording, copying, playback, broadcasting, and display of moving visual media.[1] Video was first developed for mechanical television systems, which were quickly replaced by cathode ray tube (CRT) systems which were later replaced by flat panel displays of several types.

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Video Amplifier     

An electronic device that can increase the power of a signal (a time-varying voltage or current). It is a two-port electronic circuit that uses electric power from a power supply to increase the amplitude of a signal applied to its input terminals, producing a proportionally greater amplitude signal at its output. The amount of amplification provided by an amplifier is measured by its gain: the ratio of output voltage, current, or power to input.

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Video Electronics Standards Association (vesa)     

A technical standards organization for computer display standards. The organization was incorporated in California in July 1989[1] and has its office in San Jose, California.[1][2] It claims a membership of over 225 companies.[3]

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Video quality     

A characteristic of a video passed through a video transmission/processing system, a formal or informal measure of perceived video degradation (typically, compared to the original video).

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Zoom lens     

A mechanical assembly of lens elements for which the focal length (and thus angle of view) can be varied, as opposed to a fixed focal length (FFL) lens.

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